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Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process (SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology) [Paperback]

John Weir Perry
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Price: 17.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process (SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology) + Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis (New Consciousness Reader) + Stormy Search for the Self, The: A Guide to Personal Growth Through Transformational Crisis
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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (5 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791439887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791439883
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 576,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Based on clinical and scholarly investigations, the author has found and formulated a mental syndrome which, though customarily regarded as acute psychosis, is in actuality a more natural effort of the psyche to mend its imbalances. This book is a comprehensive summary of his ground-breaking work in this area.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very interesting book but for the average person trying to cure Schizophrenia I would suggest looking at books on Orthomolecular treatment as well or instead of this book. The problem is if you don't have the ideal quiet location, understanding friends/relatives who can cope with the person going through the traumatic experience, somewhere safe to get through rages, etc it is of little practical help. The only thing I could use from it was to be even more understanding of our child's illness, to give more credence to his dreams/visions as in showing an interest but not trying to analyse them and being more aware of how little upsets are major to him sometimes. If you are trying to get yourself or your child better and have the time to read this, then yes it's very interesting. For psychiatrists and nurses it is excellent as it gives another route for treatment than the mind-numbing, and potentially dangerous chemical route. Hopefully someone in the UK will follow their lead and start a private practice along the Diabasis lines.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful critique of modern psychiatry 17 Jan 2001
By Ben Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
If a visionary like Jesus Christ were admitted to a modern psychiatric hospital, he'd be diagnosed as "mentally imbalanced" and injected with anti-psychotic medication. If his delusional symptoms continued for more than a few days, the drug dosage would be increased. Eventually the patient's condition would be stabilized, allowing a transfer from the locked ward to a halfway house, thence to a board-and-care home, with biweekly visits to an outpatient clinic. No longer a threat to himself and others, Jesus would begin his career as a permanent client of the mental health system.
"Trials of the Visionary Mind" is a powerful critique of modern psychiatry, but even more importantly, this book offers an alternative vision of how the natural healing process can be encouraged with compassionate therapy instead of being suppressed with coercive "treatment."
In the 1970's John Weir Perry founded Diabasis, a safe haven in San Francisco where individuals experiencing an acute first episode of psychosis ("spiritual emergency") were allowed to let their psychic upheaval run its course in a caring environment without medication. Perry discusses the philosophy behind Diabasis, and he shares some of the lessons learned and insights gained from a lifetime of study and practice.
The book includes an appendix with suggestions on how to set up a residence facility like Diabasis, but it's unlikely that Perry's ideas will be embraced by the psychiatric profession. Most psychiatrists today are psychopharmacologists who simply manage symptoms by dispensing pills, and they're wedded to the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness that's so widely promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.
This book should be read by anyone who's appalled by a mental health system that labels every condition a "disorder" and limits treatment to prescribing a pill. John Weir Perry points to a better way.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Book! 1 July 2006
The fact that Stanislav Grof, author of Spiritual Emergency, endorses this book, is enough for me to want to read it.If I were on an island and could choose only one book on Spiritual Emergency, it would be this one, by the Grofs. Based on a look I had from Amazon's Look Inside feature, this is an important contribution to the field of Spiritual Emergency.

In 1991 I did my Clinical Psychology Masters Thesis at Cal State University Hayward on The Forms of Spiritual Emergency, and the Diagnsis and Treatment of Spiritual Emergency. Found 19 Forms. Went through several forms myself back in 1988-1991. The maps provided by Spiritual Emergency literature (particularly Grofs, and Bragdon), I believe kept me from completely losing it. I was close, and agree with Bragdon, that the purpose of Spiritual Emergency is to get us to return to God (Divine).For me what stopped the overwhelming kundalini symptoms was a prayer to God,at that point in my life, closer to an intellectual construct.Nothing like some direct positive and powerful results with prayer to God. At the same time I went through the Dark Night of the Soul, where the best I could experience was that another dear to me was holding my hand; that was wonderful, and not enough to heal me at the time. Site under construction: Sacred Heart Sacred Spirit. You will find more about Spiritual Emergence and Emergency on that site in about six weeks. Regards, Sakanta Running Wolf, Walks in Freedom. Peru,Brazil,USA,Mexico
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work 9 Jan 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is not only a visionary work but a book full of deep compassion and hope. More, it is a book which has a large amount of good practice in the domain of applied experience in psychotherapy meant for psychotic conditions. John Perry's voice is not a theoretical abstraction, it is a living truth giving hope and respect for human beings in a splitted world in which the word soul is denied and lost for science, and the meaning of individual life is no more taken into consideration even in sciences like medicine, psychology, etc.
9 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Redeeming those you can't redeem themselves 10 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
According to John Weir Perry, 'when a true spiritual awakening or transformation is underway, one usually encounters the emotional experiences and accompanying images of death and the annihilation of the world itself'.(127)
Therefore, it would seem to me, an experience involving such encounters is probably the inevitable and ulitmate path towards spiritual enlightenment, and one who has not traveled along it is still awaiting a transformation.
Mr. Perry, however, would disagree. According to him, one undergoes such a process, which he calls the 'renewal process' and associates with brief psychotic episodes, only when there is an imperative need for the individual to break free from old value systems, emotional patterns, assumptions about the nature of the world or cultural forms etc, and this need is being resisted.(128-129)
Perry argues that when this process of breaking free is not undertaken 'voluntarily' by the individual, 'with knowledge of the goal and considerable effort', the conscious personality is overwhelmed by the psyche and its own powerful processes.(129)
In response to this rather undynamic view of the dynamics of the psyche and soma, I would like to point out what a shame it is indeed for those who lack the 'trials' or other fiendish elements which may be resisted, surrendered to and ultimately used to demonstrate grace, the grace, perhaps, in following what necessity dictates, for it is surely those 'lacking' individuals who are submerged in unconsciousness.
I would agree with Perry's view that the treatment received by an individual in a state of 'psychosis' or altered state of consciousness has a profound effect on them, such that, like a magic mirror, if the experience is treated as a disease, it appears as one.
However, I believe that his argument for the individual's role (or lack thereof) in the origin of their own experience is flawed. This is because what he is essentially arguing is that, on the one hand, through hard, conscious struggle (and presumably objectivity) a person may actually anticipate the 'renewal process' and therefore avoid it altogether, and that on the other hand, and by the same argument, it is a lack of vision which leads one to be overwhelmed by unconscious forces (exactly where a 'visionary mind' comes from and what it may have to do with personal volition seems to be a mystery to Perry).
Overall, this rather transcendentalist and ascetic argument seems to be at odds with his view that death, disorder and destruction must be embraced on a journey of self-transformation, but it does tie in well with his abhorrently patriachal, elitist and Western-centric view of mythology which, for me, was the biggest disappointment of all in reading this book.
I would not recommend it to anyone.
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